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Streamr: A blockchain startup wants to give data owners control of where it ends up and who makes money from it

Mon, 30 Jul 2018, 05:51 am UTC

Blockchain-backed data platform Streamr became the first blockchain organization to win the Plug and Play Global Innovation Award for Performance from Europe’s largest innovation platform STARTUP AUTOBAHN.

With this, Streamr joined the league of previous winners including Porsche and Daimler, in receiving the award which recognized its pilot project with Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) aimed at data monetization.

In an interview conducted via Wachsman PR, Shiv Malik, Streamr Head of Communications and Strategy, shared his thoughts on winning the award, joining MOBI, upcoming announcements and much more.

“It’s an amazing accolade to become the first blockchain project to win one of Europe's highest tech innovation awards and to beat out competitors and hundreds of other startups for the prize. It kind of left the team a little stunned because we only finished our token sale in late October. Of course HPE’s willingness to partner and get a pilot going around such a vital and alive frontier - automobile data monetization - was utterly key,” Malik told EconoTimes.

In May 2018, Streamr announced its ongoing partnership with HPE. The companies collaborated on a project in which a car’s data was monetized onto a publicly available platform.

Before explaining “monetization,” Malik said that one needs to discuss something even more fundamental – a system which will enable the smart car or any IoT enabled gadget to have real-time conversations with other machines outside of the manufacturer of the gadget.

“If your car is driving along, how will it send and receive data from other machines or gadgets on the road in a comprehensive and convenient way?” Malik said. “At the moment every time someone wants to do this for their own type of real-time information, they have to set up a site, APIs, use cloud services to port information, encrypt the data etc. Streamr is creating the underlying protocol which allows these real-time conversations to happen in the simplest fashion - broadcast and subscribe. In that sense, our data Network is a bit like Twitter, but for machines rather than humans: a single platform to broadcast messages to other people as a group or to single entities.”

“But added to this we can now monetize those discussions! This is the beauty of crypto. It enables microtransactions. So if you, for example, want to make money simply by driving around, then you could share the road condition data your car already collects with a highways agency who already spend millions trying to do the same thing with their own fleets of cars and sensors. The same applies for weather or traffic data. This is really useful information to organisations out there and even your fellow road users but currently it all stays in your car because we don’t have the systems and incentives to get it out to the wider world.”

Streamr also announced that it is joining the Mobility Open Blockchain Initiative (MOBI). Malik said that the company joined the initiative because “it is a great forum for sorting out protocol level issues.”

“All the participants want to ensure that there are common systems for everyone, not a whole bunch of different platforms which means cars of different makes won’t be able to talk to each other on the road, or when car users drive from one smart city to another, they don’t have to upload new systems and software interfaces to stay smart,” he added.

“Streamr also wants to ensure that the citizen consumer comes first. Streamr, like many people out there, doesn’t want to see another Facebook for cars for example where manufacturers are entirely in control of people’s data, hold on to it and then monetise because they’ve basically forced their users to check a consent contract. We want to see the people and organisations that generate data being in control of where it ends up and who makes money from it.”

When asked about upcoming major announcement, Malik said that they would announce some “really high profiled partnerships which we think will take the IoT and blockchain space by storm.”

“Of course, you’ll have to stay tuned to Streamr to find out more, but alongside those announcements, we will also be plugging away at growing our data Marketplace (which is the application that allows people to monetise the data which flows through our Network). On the development front, we hope to announce progress around new features for the Marketplace including our community bundling feature, which will mean Streamr will have the ability to reach out to a mass consumer audience, and also further progress on our Network milestones. It’s exciting times!” he concluded.

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